Information on systems thinking and how to use the systems and habits approach to improvement.
How many times in life do you stop and realize the incredible alignment of events had to occur to get you to where you are currently? Do you see the sacrifice others have made so that you can be here, right now?
Most of us sit around in a world of excess complaining about the lack of more. We get too caught up in what someone else has that we don’t. We don’t see that we have exponentially more than most.
Life is complex. With the complexity that life presents it can be extremely difficult to get to the meaning behind everything.
We might think the key to life is to be successful or to make money. We might think it is to be happy or find joy. We might think it is to serve others or find a way to improve the world.
But are any of these truly accurate? Do any of them, by themselves, really provide a guiding direction to take life? And are we even capable of doing such things? Choosing one means eliminating the others and that is difficult to truly do.
When I graduated college I found myself in a place of struggle. I seemed to be taking my life in the wrong direction. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something felt wrong.
It seemed like I couldn’t get myself to do what I needed to. I initially blamed everything outside of myself. But then I started to see patterns.
I stood on the edge of the ocean and looked out. I held a surfboard for the first time in my life and I was about to cross off a bucket list item. But there was a problem. I was afraid of sharks.
I remember the feeling vividly. I was terrified and excited. I was nervous but somehow remained calm. I thought about bailing, coming up with some excuse to keep me from even trying. Then I grabbed the board and ran into the water.
Everyone has setbacks. Everyone assumes they are taking the right steps in life so when misfortune comes along we tend to get down emotionally. We pity our situation.
But we can’t stay down. We have to learn to see the situation for what it is, learn from it and then move on.
When I was earning my MBA I took a class on leadership. In it, we discussed the difference between evolutionary change in an organization versus revolutionary change in an organization.
When it comes to the organization evolving over time, the key is to make sure that the company improves and gets better and keeps taking steps in the right direction. It is a much more subtle type of change but incredibly important.
When I was younger I felt very restricted. I was a student and had responsibility. I had a job, was taking classes etc.
But over time I started to realize how free I was back then. I didn’t have major responsibilities, like a family or career to worry about.
When we set out to improve some aspect of our life, we usually start with something that makes us unhappy. Something provides an element of pain or discomfort.
It could be that we haven’t made the right decisions in the past and we are paying the price today. It could be that we were wrong in certain assumptions about the level of success or happiness we would attain in life.
As a parent I keep noticing that I am teaching my children to judge. We want them to understand right and wrong. We want them to be kind, polite and well behaved.
So we set out to teach them how to go through life in a way that will ultimately help them achieve more and become well integrated with others. We want them to be happy and to be happy, we contend, they must understand how to navigate the world and avoid trouble.
Life is always going to have an element of unpredictability to it. No matter what we think should happen, fate always intervenes and adjusts the future reality.
One of the things I enjoy about this time of year is the start of the American football season. I have a few teams that I enjoy watching and even tend to enjoy watching games with teams that I have no real interest in.
We can all gain additional strength to do the right thing. While most people assume there is some magical trick to suddenly be able to improve self-control it is actually must simpler.
The way to do this is by using our willpower to build certain habits. Then as those habits become automatic and easy to keep doing, we add more and more.
Trying to lose weight is a common goal. We set out to shed the extra pounds we picked up or finally get back to our desired weight.
But most of the techniques that we use are flawed. They work to get us to lose a few pounds but many times are setting us up for future failure.
When it comes to self-improvement most people struggle. They know where their weaknesses lie but don’t address them. They come to terms with them.
They know their strengths and are happy to leave them at the level they currently reside. Why bother improving if it is a strength?
Systems thinking differs from the way most people think. It looks at full systems and the interconnecting elements of the system instead of just looking at small subsections of the system.
This allows us to see a bigger picture and get a better understanding of the full system. It allows us to better understand the world around us.
Systems are everywhere. Everything around us is part of numerous overlapping systems in life and everything that happens in our life can be explained through these systems.
Sometimes they are easy to see. We see the solar system, the various systems that regulate our body, the traffic systems in place to help us travel safely, and weather systems.
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This website has been developed to help you understand the power of systems and habits in your life and then take action to build the person that you want to become. There are over 70 free articles, 1 free eBook, and free videos and links to other system and habit experts.